The British Youth Council welcomes Labour’s recognition of the importance of young voters at the Election. BYC calls on other parties to do the same and back our campaign to not only register young voters, but give them something to vote for.
In a speech at Sheffield Hallam University Students’ Union, The Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband MP, has today (Friday 16th January 2015) highlight that many more young people need to be registered to vote, and has also launch a one month consultation on the party’s youth manifesto.
The British Youth Council has been urging all the parties to engage the youth vote with ideas like this, and the League of Young Voters was set up by BYC to address the shortfall in registration which we identified last year. BYC is a partner of the Electoral Commission and been raising awareness about the issue since our last Annual Council Meeting in September 2014 adopted Voter Registration as a priority campaign. Part of this was to challenge political parties to respond and make voting worthwhile. So this is a welcome step and BYC will want to meet Labours leadership as a priority.
The Labour announcement follows recent research from Demos which suggests the youth vote could swing the 2015 general election, with 3 million young people yet to decide who they will vote for, and that up to 75% would vote (in contrast to 43% at the 2010 election. The report also suggested that political parties needed to adapt the way they engaged with young voters in order to ‘boost youth political participation’. BYC’s own research suggests that use of the internet and face to face campaigning will be important.
Mita Desi, Chair of the British Youth Council, said:
“The British Youth Council welcomes the Labour Parties response to our call for youth voices and issues to be heard in the General Election, both through their consultation on the Manifesto and greater voter registration. We will be able to have a say, and would like to invite Mr Miliband and members of his shadow cabinet to hear the proposals young people want to see included in all potential Government manifestos.
BYC’s Election Manifesto will be launched in February for candidates and parties to respond to. Following BYC Annual General Meeting and the outcomes of the Make Your Mark ballot and debate of the UK Youth Parliament in the House of Commons, BYC members are voting to prioritise key issues. We say to the all the party leaders and candidates – listen to us – listen to young people – talk to us not about us. Our challenge to you is to win back those who are disillusioned with politics – with genuine promises to address the issues we face – something to vote for – our future!”
For more information or to speak to our media spokespeople please contact the press office.